Discretionary Payments

Discretionary Housing Payments help people with their rent when their Housing Benefit or Universal Credit payment does not meet the full value of their rent.

If you are suffering severe financial hardship or your tenancy is at risk you may be able to get a discretionary payment to help towards these payments.

We may also be able to help with rent in advance or removal costs in exceptional circumstances as long as you are already in receipt of Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.

Any payments are made from a separate fund with a limited budget and are to help claimants experiencing difficult circumstances in the short-term. There is no automatic entitlement and there are some circumstances where your application will not be successful.

Even if you are awarded the payment it may not be given for the full amount of the shortfall of your rent, or for the whole of your benefit period. There is also no guarantee that another award will be made at a later date, even if your circumstances have not changed.

When we can make a payment

We can only make a Discretionary Housing Payment if we believe that the person's circumstances call for further financial help towards their housing costs. Each case is assessed on its individual merits, including an applicant's finances and personal circumstances.

Examples of when payment may be considered include:

  • Anybody in the household has ill health or a disability with particular needs
  • Accommodation being adapted because of disability
  • Anybody in the household being a carer with accommodation needs
  • Anybody in the household having a relevant medical need
  • If more than one additional bedroom is required for a foster child
  • If it is not possible or practical for you to look for alternative accommodation
How are payments made

Any payment awarded for rental charges will be paid with your Housing Benefit either to you or direct to your Landlord.

Managed payments on Universal Credit will be made directly to your landlord or to you, depending on where Universal Credit payments are made.

Apply for payment

To apply for extra help, download the Discretionary Housing Payment application form below and send it to us, including as much information as possible for the application to be considered.

If you are receiving Universal Credit you will also need to complete the form below.

When submitting your application, you must supply the most recent two months bank statements for all accounts that you hold (bank, building society, Credit Union, Post Office) regardless of balance of activity. No decision will be made on your claim unless these are provided.

We will contact you to let you know if we require any further information after receiving the form. An interview may also be arranged to discuss your request in more detail see whether we can offer any other help, advice and guidance.

Rent in advance

Any amount of rent in advance or deposit will be limited to the amount of local housing allowance your household requires as set by the Rent Officer. If there is a compelling reason for the deposit/rent in advance to be paid in full, consideration may be given to this.

If you wish to apply for rent in advance please download and complete the form below.

Removal costs

We may be able to assist with removal costs if there is a compelling reason you need to move, such as being evicted from your former home. Any contribution to moving costs would be limited to the cost of hiring a van for one day (between £100-£150 pounds).

If you wish to apply for help with removals please download and complete the form below.

After your application

If the application is successful, we will write to tell you how much you will be paid and for how long.

If we decide that we can't make a payment, we will write and tell you the reasons for our decision. You can write to us and ask us to look at the decision again should you disagree.

We may need to revise an award of any payment if your circumstances have materially changed, and we will seek to recover any payment that is found to be overpaid.

Last updated 29 September 2023
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